Britney Griner was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment. The last chapter of the story of American basketball player that last February 17 was arrested by Russian police for possession of cannabis oil. Arrest that came a week before the outbreak of war in Ukraine: so the Olympic champion of Rio 2016 And Tokyo 2020 she found herself involved in an affair that crossed paths with the diplomatic relations at the highest levels between Fly And Washington. In the United States, the mobilization began to ask for his release, up to the request for an exchange of prisoners which came after the trial was already underway. Here are all the stages of the Griner case:
February 17 – arrest at Sheremetyevo airport
On February 17, 2022, Griner was stopped at the airport of Sheremetyevoin Moscow, on suspicion of trafficking narcotics. Refills with cannabis oil for the electronic cigarette. The immediate arrest is triggered: here begins the ordeal of the star of Phoenix Mercury. From the beginning the seriousness of the fact is clear as less than 1% of the defendants in Russian criminal proceedings he is acquitted. Also, unlike in US courts, acquittals can be overturned.
March 8 – first request for US release
The US State Department is asking Russia for the liberation of female basketball star. Meanwhile, Russian state television releases one photo of the athlete, standing in a police barracks, holding up a piece of paper on which his name is written. Fears are growing that the athlete’s arrest is linked to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
July 4 – Griner sends an appeal to Joe Biden
Almost five months after his arrest, the basketball player sends a letter-appeal to the president of the United States, Joe Biden. “While I’m here in one prison Russian, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, my family, my friends, the Olympic jersey or any result, I am terrified of staying here forever. Don’t forget me and the other American inmates ”, these were the words used on the occasion by the Wnba player. Message to which the Washington government replied: “We believe the Russian Federation is holding back unfairly Brittney Griner. The US government continues to work in aggressively – using every available means – to bring her home ”.
July 7 – Griner pleads guilty
Upon returning to the classroom later almost 5 months of detention the Olympian declares herself guilty before the Court. The woman admits she has smuggled there drug: “Ms. Griner pleads guilty, claims that it was not his intention carrying baggage with drugs or committing a crime ”. The young player also points out that she was a involuntary episode as he was packing his bags in a hurry: “I was in a hurry while I was packing and bottles they are finished accidentally in my bag”.
July 13 – Lebron James attacks the United States
The Griner case moves the entire world of American basketball who takes the field with his most famous representative: Lebron James. The Los Angeles Lakers star addresses the Biden administration directly. “Why would she ever want to go back to America after she has been left alone for such a long time. How can she feel supported by the United States? ”. The words of the NBA player follow those of Griner’s coach, Vanessa Nygaardwho had brought it up the previous week by saying that if it had been him at the time he would have come home by now.
July 28 – hypothesis of an exchange with the Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout
The United States presents Russia with a “concrete proposal” for the release of American citizens detained in Moscow, including the champion of the Phoenix Mercury. Washington is willing to let go back to Moscow Viktor Bouta Russian arms dealer known as “the merchant of the death“. The spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, confirms the start of the negotiation. A few days later there will be the first phone call since the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis between the US secretary of state Antony Blinken and the Russian Foreign Minister Serghiei Lavrov.
August 4 – Griner sentenced to nine years in prison
The basketball player is judged guilty of drug trafficking and sentenced to nine years by the judge of the Khimki Tribunal. Before the verdict, Griner pleads with the judge: “They call me a political pawn, but I hope that politics stay out of this room“. Biden immediately replies: “American citizen Brittney Griner has received a sentence that once again reminds us of what the world already knows: Russia unfairly holds Brittney. She is unacceptable and I ask Russia to release it immediately“.